Editor’s Note: I am literally working on three different essays at once again as well as spending far too much time writing articles hardly anyone will ever read on Twitter it seems. I’m still desperately trying to work myself into a good rhythm and bring this website online towards something at least *resembling* daily content, so expect a few more “The Simple Truth” posts over the next little while; my hope is that they’ll be a supplement to, rather than a replacement for the op-eds, essays and long form writing you already find here on ninaillingworth.com.
As a result of this time crunch however, today’s post is going to be a short look at a scandal that has been lumped in with the larger discussion about sexual harassment prompted by the exposure of serial abuser Harvey Weinstein but is actually threatening to snowball into something that could, in theory tear down the entire American government when all is said and done – the rapidly escalating Congressional Sexual Harassment Cover Up Scandal:
Although I have no desire to steal power from victims of sexual assault and harassment whose voices are finally being heard in Hollywood, government and among the wealthy elites of American society; I genuinely fear that an important realization is being lost in both the larger social narrative and the more explosive accusations currently rocking the US Senate. While it is absolutely vital that child molesters like Roy Moore and serial harassers like John Conyers and Al Franken all receive their duly earned “time in the barrel” (regardless of the political motivations for exposing their repugnant behavior) there is something altogether more vile and sinister about the formalized, legally sanctioned and almost mechanical method by which Congress has hidden sexual harassment and abuse by its own members since 1995.
While the mainstream media holds its breath and quietly titters about who will be exposed next, I find myself asking why nobody is talking about the heinous nature of the crime that has been committed against the American people, by its own House of Representatives. The staggering cruelty towards victims of sexual harassment involved in creating a system designed to silence accusers and protect rich, politically powerful assailants would simply not be tolerated in the private sector or for that matter polite society. The arrogance, hubris and sheer inhumanity of a US Congress that would pretend to uphold an oath of office to represent their constituents while simultaneously protecting abusers, harassers and lord knows what the fuck else is almost incomprehensible to me; not only as a woman but also as a decent human being. We simply do not know the extent of the violations because Congress itself has passed rules to ensure that we cannot know; this issue goes far beyond the voting public’s right to transparency frankly because we do not even have the information to identify repeat fucking offenders – which means every single time a new batch of interns and assistants have joined Capitol Hill since 1995, Congress has allowed them to walk into a potentially sexually abusive situation without even so much as a goddamn warning!
As awful as all of that is however, I suspect the reason the media is trying to wash this atrocity away in the larger Weinstein and Senate sexual “misconduct” scandals is because, if they stopped and thought about this issue long enough, the general public might realize that almost everyone on Capitol Hill is to blame. From 1995 onward, everyone knew that this was happening and did or said absolutely sweet fuck all about it. Everyone; Democrats, Republicans, elected officials, aides, literally everyone involved in running the US House of Representatives is actively complicit in silencing victims and hiding sexual harassment (or worse) from the entire country. In fact, the only people who can possibly be excused for engaging in this heinous conspiracy against truth, justice and victim’s rights are the victims themselves; who are required to sign non-disclosure agreements as part of their settlements and thus could not possibly have spoken up under threat of law. Everyone else, is guilty and why the fuck that doesn’t have the entire country out in the streets remains a complete goddamn mystery to me.
- Nina Illingworth